Gregor Robertson said this on 10 December 2008, just after taking office:
“It’s about … the community being in City Hall”
Three years on, the community has indeed spent a lot of time in City Hall.
But only because of having to fight tooth and nail with a developer-friendly Vision Council that has repeatedly broken the promises that led voters to give them a near sweep!
At a Heritage Hall event with hundreds of people from local communities, Robertson (accompanied by a majority of Council) assured his audience that the contentious and corner-turning NPA EcoDensity initiative would be reexamined. Instead, Vision put EcoDensity on steroids and sprinkled it with greenwash.
The voting record of Vision Vancouver on significant planning decisions that affect neighbourhoods shows Vision voting as a bloc – and almost always siding with developer interests, not with local communities. By contrast, COPE councillors have strongly tended to vote on the side of residents. Consider only 1215 Bidwell, 1569 W 6th Ave, Norquay, Vancouver Views / Taller buildings, Regional Growth Strategy, and Marine Gateway. Even the apparent exception, modification to casino expansion, may only amount to a deferral of the issue.
Take two minutes to watch on video all of Mayor Robertson’s now unbelievable comments from December 2008 [courtesy of Chatterbox films]:
In view (left to right): Mel Lehan (then spokesperson for organizer NSV, Clr Ellen Woodworth (COPE), and then from Vision Vancouver, Clr Geoff Meggs, Mayor Gregor Robertson, Clr Andrea Reimer, Clr Kerry Jang, Clr George Chow
More coverage of this story: Big Shift! That’s What Gregor Robertson Said … (25-July-2011) http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/joseph-jones/7837
Transcript below (reproduced from ChatterboxFilms channel):
10 December 2008, Heritage Hall – First Day of Mayor Robertson’s and Vision Vancouver’s Term of Office:
“It’s so fantastic to walk in here. I didn’t quite know know what I was coming into, but coming in the door, it was like all of Vancouver crammed into the Heritage Hall — with poster boards to boot.”
“I really want to recognize you, and thank you for all the work that you’ve done to represent your neighbourhoods, to actually pull together in a cohesive way — what your neighbourhoods are, what they mean to you, what they mean to the people who live there, and to put that forward and to make a political statement out of it.”
“Because its been the only thing really that pushed back effectively enough against the branding of EcoDensity. And when you say the word EcoDensity, well it sounds kind of good, I, you know, sounds reasonable and something we maybe should get behind, but the reality of it I think was very different, and it took a very very intense effort on behalf of all of you in the neighbourhoods to counter that effectively, and to reframe the whole debate around what matters most — and that is community, and our neighbourhoods.”
“Ultimately, when you think about what was most important, where you grew up, what’s most important through your life, it’s those connections to where you live and the people that you live with. And a lot of the problems that we have — not only in this city, but in cities and towns across the world, is when community starts to pull apart and disintegrate, and there isn’t all that support. People fall through the cracks, and they fall between communities. There’s a lack of cohesiveness, and that’s where a lot of the problems, and a lot of the social unrest and challenges that we have, come from.”
“So making our neighbourhoods and communities stronger is so critical right now, and we can get a lot better at it — and the work that you guys are doing is about that, I think. It’s about making neighbourhoods stronger, and making sure that we’re — as a society that we’re better looked after by working together in our communities. So, we recognize you for that work, which is really important to our city, and beyond.”
“We have a great opportunity right now with the big shift in the political winds to do things differently at City Hall.”
“We talked about this a lot through the campaign, through this election, about how we want to do things very differently. We want them to come bottom-up. We want the grassroots to have serious voice at City Hall. We want City Hall opened up. That’s why we had our big inauguration yesterday at Sunset Community Centre, because we want to be out in the community.”
“And it’s more than just us being out in the community, it’s about the community being in City Hall.”